The Wisconsin volleyball team (21-5, 17-1 Big Ten) concluded their regular season home matches with sweeps of the Iowa Hawkeyes and No. 6 Nebraska Cornhuskers.
After the wins, University of Wisconsin jumped to No. 2 in the NCAA RPI Poll, but remained at No. 5 in the AVCA Coaches’ Poll.
Wisconsin honored their seniors Friday night with an emphatic 25-18, 25-13, 25-15 sweep of the Hawkeyes (9-20, 3-15 Big Ten). The five seniors, Tiffany Clark, Madison Duello, M.E. Dodge, Mallory Dixon and Sarah Dodd, were recognized prior to the game.
“We were talking with the rest of the team and saying the greatest gift you can give us for senior night is to be ready to play,” Clark said. “It’s really easy to get caught up in all the distractions that tonight offers — all the family, all the pomp and circumstance — but I think we did a really good job at focusing and zeroing in.”
Middle blockers Dana Rettke and Danielle Hart delivered on that gift with 15 and 11 kills, respectively. The pair also combined for a .632 hitting percentage. Rettke also added eight blocks, three aces and a dig.
UW hit a combined .410 — their second-highest mark of the year — against Iowa’s porous defense. Even M.E. Dodge, a 5 foot 10 defensive specialist, got in on the fun with a kill – the fourth of her career and her first this season. Wisconsin has now won 17 of their last 18 matches against the Hawkeyes.
Sunday, the Badgers’ sixth-ranked offense led the sweep over the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ (23-4, 15-3 Big Ten) seventh-ranked defense for the second time this season. This was the first time in program history Nebraska had been swept by a conference opponent twice in one season.
Outside hitter Molly Haggerty led the Badgers with 16 kills despite missing the team’s morning practice with an illness.
Rettke finished with 12 kills on zero errors and led the match with five blocks. Wisconsin’s offense confounded the Cornhuskers in early October, and it appeared Nebraska Head Coach John Cook and company still hadn’t figured it out.
The balanced Badger offense hit .331 against the top defense in the Big Ten. The Badgers hit .376 against the Cornhuskers earlier this year. These are the two highest percentages Nebraska has allowed this year.
The Badgers are now 7-0 against ranked Big Ten opponents and have dropped only four sets in those seven matches.